13 Dec 2012
For three weeks, 12 DMAT students spent time at Keele University, in Staffordshire, UK. The students, members of the experimental improvised music ensemble "Sonic Escapade”, participated in a number of performances and music improvisation workshops along with UK students, facilitated by SP DMIT lecturer, Michael Spicer. Sonic Escapade specializes in creating performances that are made up on the spot, and make use of a home made "sound sculptures”, as well as more conventional Western and Asian musical instruments. The opportunity to interact and share their working methods, and present a concert together with the students from Keele, gave the students from Singapore Polytechnic, an insight into how their UK counterparts work.
It was great fun having impromptu improvisational jam sessions with Keele students – Sandy Koo (Right), a DMAT year 3 student.
"The 2nd performance we did with the Keele students was a blast! I was grinning like an idiot the whole way through!"
– Valerie Teo (Extreme Right), a DMAT year 3 student.
In addition to there own performances, the students enjoyed two concerts of material by Keele staff and students. "Everybody LOVED the audio-visual concert!” said Christopher Wang a third year student from SP DMAT." The pieces performed during the audio-visual concert were really an eye-opener for me. I never thought there were so many possibilities of creating music.” added Leon Teo, a second year SP DMAT Student.
Not all of the time was spent working on campus. There was time on the weekends for daytrips to explore the surrounding cities, such as Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham. There was also a daytrip to London but, everyone agreed that the highlight was a hiking trip at Mt. Snowdon, in Wales, and a trip to a ruined castle.
Snowdonia was so fun that London seemed like a waste of time!
Said Zheng Jie (Left), a third year student from SP DMAT.
"Second hand shops are a great place to find musical instruments. From CD racks to baskets or whatever knick-knacks you can find and a great place for books as well! To be separated from the rest of the world and experience serenity for once…now that is an experience!" said Clara a second year SP DMAT student.
All in all it was one educational journey that these students will never forget!
Keele University has one of the largest grounds of any university in Europe, containing an arboretum and farmland. It is surrounded by the English countryside. This creates village feel to the place, and made a strong impression on the Singaporeans. They became very comfortable with the English village lifestyle, and miss it now that they are back in Singapore.
We get cows by the road and squirrels running pass beside us! – Valerie
Thatched houses and open fields! – Irfan
UK is beautiful :D – YinLiang
The scenery was good, houses had triangle rooftops. – Christopher
I enjoy it here when it rains here, the rain-drops are not heavy droplets and pelts on you, but mist that falls gently on you. The village felt more like home to me, I don’t feel at home now that I’m in Singapore. – Leon Teo
Rows of brick houses, picturesque surroundings of the nature, falling of autumn leaves, and looking towards the field with a never-ending horizon… - Gabriel
Overall, the students had a very enriching experience during their time at Keele. New musical possibilities were opened to them, their own work was appreciated and they experienced first hand a completely different lifestyle. What better way to spend semester break?